Need a Summer Job?

The Cove Palisades State Park

Visitor Experience Program Staff
Job Description

JOB TITLE: Visitor Experience Program Assistant

ANTICIPATED DURATION OF POSITION: Four month duration in 2014; 652 hours

WORK SCHEDULE: Memorial Day – Labor Day; 40 hours per week with three, consecutive, mid-week days off; weekends, evenings, and holidays. Some overnight travel possible.

SALARY: $11.94 hourly; $1,910.40 monthly

LOCATION/JOB SITE(S): The Cove Palisades State Park, Peter Skeen Ogden Wayside

APPLICATIONS ACCEPTED: Beginning April 21, 2014 until the position is filled.

Assists with the administration, planning, training and implementation of visitor-focused programs. Programs and projects are related to interpretation, outdoor skills instruction, volunteer management, outdoor recreation, environmental education, partnership groups, and special events.
• Daily support of and assistance with visitor experience programs and projects, including but not limited to: Let’s Go, interpretive programs, park volunteers, Jr. Ranger programs, and special events.
• Working with a variety of OPRD office and field staff, and park volunteers to ensure consistency in operational procedures, projects, and products.
• Creating, organizing, maintaining, and transporting program supplies and equipment.
• Preparing marketing and program materials for a variety of audiences to support new and ongoing programs.

• Educational background in parks, interpretation, environmental education, volunteer management, outdoor recreation or tourism preferred.
• Experience working in one or more of the following program areas: interpretation, outdoor skills instruction, volunteer management, outdoor recreation, environmental education, partnerships, and special events.
• Specialized skills in developing and safely leading outdoor programs with a wide variety of audiences.
• Proficiency in Microsoft Office products required.
• Ability to multitask on a variety of ongoing simultaneous projects. Independence, creativity and resourcefulness are key in this position.
• Must be willing to communicate openly, ask questions, accept positive criticism, and work as a part of a dynamic team.
• Applicant must also pass a criminal background check and possess a valid driver’s license and satisfactory driving record.

Visitor Experience Program Assistants will receive a thorough employee orientation and written position expectations from lead workers. You may attend CORE training. OPRD Safety modules will provide job safety training. Project and task-specific on the job training provided to use tools and systems in place. Ongoing coaching and mentoring will be provided by supervisor and other team members. A final evaluation and exit interview will be provided at the end of the season.

• Varied work environments depending on work location; must be willing and able to work in a busy, shared office environment and also out-of-doors, in uniform.
• Computer with e-mail account and access to Internet, phone, audio-visual equipment and other tools provided.
• Operation of a state vehicle expected – may include cars, trucks, vans, or golf carts, possible trailer towing.

Submit a cover letter and detailed resume which describes your interest and relevant experience. Please be sure to state the dates that you are available.
Send to:
David Slaght, Park Manager
Erin Bennett, Interpretive Ranger
The Cove Palisades State Park
7300 SW Jordan Road
Culver, OR 97734
Phone: 541-546-3412
Fax: 541-546-2220

A Sure Sign Spring is Here


Swallows found in Central Oregon: Bank Swallow | Barn Swallow | Cliff Swallow | Northern Rough-winged Swallow | Tree Swallow | Violet-green Swallow

The Cliff Swallows (Hirundo pyrrhonota) are back and busy making a home for the young they plan to raise at Lake Billy Chinook.

RANGE: Breeds from western and central Alaska and central Yukon to northern Ontario, southern Quebec and New Brunswick south to Mexico, southwestern Louisiana, northern portion of the Gulf States and southern North Carolina; also in the Lake Okeechobee region of southern Florida. Winters in South America.

STATUS: Common in the West, locally fairly common in the East; overall populations are stable or increasing in the west.

HABITAT: Originally restricted to the vicinity of cliffs and banks; now occurs over open country around farmlands, towns, bridges, dams, freeway overpasses, and other areas near mud supplies and potential nest sites.

SPECIAL HABITAT REQUIREMENTS: A vertical substrate with an overhang for nest attachment, a supply of mud suitable for nest construction, fresh water with a smooth surface for drinking, and an open foraging area near the nest site. Strongest Oregon nesting habitat association on cliffs, bridges and buildings in urban and rural residential areas, and edges of cropland, pasture, and orchard.


NEST: Originally nested on bluffs, cliffs, deep gorges in mountains, and sometimes on the side of large pine trees and in caves; has adapted to building its gourd-like mud nests under the eaves of, or in, buildings, under bridges, in culverts, on the face of dams, and under freeway overpasses. Forms colonies of up to several hundred nests in favorable locations.


FOOD: Consumes insects caught while flying high, often above 100 feet, as nearly 100 percent of the diet.

IN CENTRAL OREGON: Common spring and fall migrant throughout the region, except in southern Deschutes County the High Cascades. Traditionally arrives late April to mid-May, along with Barn Swallows, but departs much earlier, often by late August. Breeding usually confirmed between early May and late June. Easily found nesting on farm buildings or rimrock near open water and often in large colonies.

Spring in Central Oregon

In Central Oregon, we are just waiting for that first sign of spring which practically begs us to get outside and hit the trail again. As everything turns green, wildflowers peek their colorful faces up to the sun, and the swallows return, spring can be one of the most exciting times to explore our State Parks.  Regardless of your outdoor experience level before hitting the trails, paddling the river or finding the perfect camp spot, it is always a good idea to check your gear and remember safety should be your first priority so that your adventure is a positive experience.


Spring weather is in Central Oregon is unpredictable. The day may start clear and sunny and before you know it, snow is falling. Be sure to pack extra layers of clothing, including socks. In a word, spring hiking is wet. Snow is melting and rain is often falling. Be wary of wet surfaces and muddy roads. Speaking of wet, remember the old adage, “cotton kills.” While it’s great to have a cotton t-shirt or sweatshirt to slip on after the hike, wet cotton clothes rob the body of heat and take a long time to dry out. Be sure to wear synthetic clothes appropriate for the sport and conditions you’re experiencing.

If you’re a paddler, don’t forget that if the air temperature and water temperature aren’t more than 100 when added together, hypothermia is a real concern if you get wet.  Probably best to wait for a sunny day, or at the least, be sure to bring some dry clothes in your dry bag should you go for an accidental swim.

Your joints, muscles and lungs may have been hibernating over the winter. Don’t start out on a 20 mile trail run if you haven’t been running in months. Be sure to warm up slowly and stretch when you’re done. This goes for hiking, paddling, biking, or any other sport. Work up to longer outings so you don’t injure yourself and miss the rest of the summer.

Remember the last time you went camping? Last summer when it rained the morning you broke camp, the kids wanted to see the last Junior Ranger Program, your dog was running around the campsite and you discovered a hole in your air mattress? Well, if you’re like most of us, the tent likely reeks of mildew and the air mattress is still punctured. Pla12228793-camping-gearn a weekend to check your outdoor gear.  Be sure to clean and fix all of your gear before you go out.     If you camp in a trailer or RV it’s time to de-winterize, stock up and fill up the propane tanks.  Make a list so that you can restock if necessary – and don’t forget the S’mores! If you’re bringing kids or a newbie, this is especially important.



Speaking of kids and newbies, start out easy… Maybe the three night backpack you’ve been dreaming of all winter isn’t the best early season trip. Start with something easier and adopt a positive attitude. Remember, you want this person to like camping, hiking, paddling, trail running, or whatever.  If you haven’t camped before and want to get some good advice, Let’s Go Camping at the Cove Palisades State Park is a great way to start. We provide everything you need and show you how to use it. This year’s program is scheduled for the last weekend in June. For more information contact Jill Nishball, Visitor Experience Coordinator, at 541-388-6073.


To make spring and summer reservations at your favorite Oregon State Park go to

Eagle Watch 2014

More than 800 people came to view the birds at the 19th Annual Eagle Watch Event at Round Butte Overlook Park in Culver this winter.  It was a weekend of mostly blue skies, beautiful birds and great hot dogs!  The annual celebration honored the eagles and other raptors that call the Lake Billy Chinook area home and featured a wide variety of activities designed to explore the natural and cultural significance of the birds.  The event hosted by the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, Portland Gas and Electric and the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs.

EW 2014 003

Event coordinators would like to thank all the partner agencies, companies and event volunteers for your dedication, passion and enthusiasm you brought to the event.  Special thanks go out to the Telecom Pioneers. This is the group that has been cooking up your Eagle Watch Hot Dogs for nineteen years.  This year’s highlights were live birds of prey from the Sunriver Nature Center and the Quartz Creek Drummers and Dancers.  Children got to make puppets, bird houses, bird masks, enter coloring contests, catch fish with their “talons,” pick grubs from a tree with their “beaks,” and go on a scavenger hunt through the Eagle Village.

EW 2014 026

EW 2014 035

EW 2014 057

The Cove Rattler is seeking your comments about the event; if you were able to attend this year, please let us know what you thought about Eagle Watch and what you might like to see next year for the 20th Annual Eagle Watch Event.

Planning for Summer 2014

camping graphicFor all of you that are already planning your camp outs for this summer at The Cove; park staff has been busy over the winter upgrading and improving the park for your visit.  Here are just a few things you will notice:

  • If you prefer the Deschutes Campground, you will notice that you can see a bit better.  Juniper thinning has been going on over the winter to protect valuable natural resources and you in case of wildfire.  Don’t worry, there is still plenty of shade available.
  • For your furry campers, the dog off-leash areas in both the Deschutes and Crooked River Campgrounds have been repaired and have better fences and gates allowing easier access.
  • Many of the old boat docks have been repaired or replaced.
  • New cabin furniture replaced the older, more heavily used pieces.
  • New way finder signs will point you in the right direction around the park.
  • All new programs will be added to our traditional campfire programs, junior ranger programs and night programs.  If you’ve joined us before, we welcome you back, if not, now is     your chance to see what you’ve been missing!

Don’t forget, camping and cabin reservations can be made up to nine months in advance so reserve your spot today!  Reservations can be made online at or by calling Reservations Northwest at 1-800-452-5687.

“Taima” The NFL Washington Seahawks Mascot

seahawks-mascotThe newest member of the Seahawks family is Taima the Hawk. Named by Seahawks fans, Taima (which means “thunder”) is quickly becoming a fixture of Seahawks Sundays at Century Link Field. Since 2007 he has been the first one out of the tunnel leading the team on to the field before each home game.

taima-650Taima is actually an Augur Buzzard (Buteo augur) who is a nine-year old, male, African, bird of prey.  Their, coloring and size are similar to an American Osprey; however unlike an Osprey (or “sea hawk”), Auguar Buzzards are not seafaring birds and will eat  small ground mammals, snakes, lizards, small ground birds, insects, and carrion.


(Osprey with Bass)

If the team was going for authenticity and a native Northern Pacific bird of prey, it would have used an Osprey (Pandion haliaetus).  Osprey’s are seafaring birds, with very distinctive black and white coloring and large wingspans up to five feet across.  Like owls, they have reversible toes so that they can hold larger prey and fly more quickly without tiring like an eagle would. They are adaptive to human activity and often nest on land.  –  When you visit The Cove, it is not uncommon to see an Osprey flying in lazy circles above Lake Billy Chinook searching for lunch.

Taima was selected as the team’s mascot because The United States Fish & Wildlife Department prohibits the use of the native birds for commercial purposes.  Even if you are not a football fan, tune into the next game for a few minutes, it is always fun to watch Taima, the buzzard, rally the crowd.

Eagle Watch 2014

Saturday, February 22 and Sunday, February 23  from 10am – 4 pm both days

Join us for the 19th Annual Eagle Watch Celebration. Event is free! Eagle Watch is a fun, family event where you can get up close to a golden eagle or a great horned owl, take a tour to view live golden and bald eagles, join your kids and learn about bird adaptations or build a bird house. This is your chance to talk to the experts and learn all about these majestic birds of prey.  Enjoy a provided hot dog lunch. Don’t miss out, Sunday, the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs will demonstrate native tribal dances – a must see!

Don’t forget to bring your cameras and binoculars!

For more information, call 541-923-7551 x 21 or


See You Next Year!

xmas 2013

Winter is Here!

This weekend was COLD at The Cove!  The weather brought our first serious 5 inches of snow and a low of -21 degrees.  We hope you’re reading this post from the warmth of your home, snuggled up with a good book and hot cocoa in front of a blazing fire.

Although I froze my tail off this morning, I wanted to share a few stunning views. I was cold, but it was all good because a pair of golden eagles and a bald eagle soared overhead to keep me company!

Fun Fact:  Eagles are warm-blooded like us so they need to eat more to create energy when it is cold outside.  Eagles also stay warm in the winter by their many feathers.  Eagles have more than 7,000 feathers on their body that weigh up to a pound  — that’s 10-12% of their total body weight.  Overlapping feathers create a dense layer that protects them in extremely cold weather.  Under those large, shiny, waterproof feathers are layers of smaller, downy feathers that act like a down blanket.   When the eagle is cold, it can angle its feathers “closed” trapping the body heat inside.  They can “puff up” their feathers, which further insulates them.  An eagle’s feet don’t get too cold because they are mostly tendon.

dec 2013 1 dec 2013 5 dec 2013 3eagle in Mem's yard 2012 (2)

If  you do visit the park soon, please be careful and drive slowly, the roads are plowed but very slick.

Day Use Parking Pass Sale

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